Heat, LeBron James need Dwyane Wade to turn back clock
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Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook showed how athletic and explosive they are when they totaled 63 points in the Thunder's 105-94 win in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday. The Heat will have a hard time winning Game 2 tonight or this series if Wade doesn't turn back the clock and give James more help.
"Sometimes I go to him and tell him I need one of those games from him, I need one of those performances from him because he still has it," James said Wednesday. "He knows he still has it, too, but every player needs a little kick every now and then, no matter how time-tested they are.
"I try to continue to let him know how important he is to this team, which he should know. But he also needs to be D-Wade and not worry about deferring as much."
James scored 30 points in Game 1 in 46 minutes and looked tired down the stretch. Wade had 19, but missed 12 of his last 17 shots.
Despite reaching the Finals both years they've played together, the James-Wade dynamic still is unsettled.
Wade looks uncomfortable playing second fiddle to James. The Heat's two stars seem like they don't want to step on each other's toes and don't have the chemistry Durant and Westbrook have when it comes to taking over games.
Westbrook scored 12 of his 27 points in the third quarter, helping the Thunder erase a 13-point first-half deficit. In the fourth, Durant scored 17 of his 36 to bring the game home for Oklahoma City.
"It took us some time," Durant said. "We're both willing passers but we do know when we have to be aggressive."
Wade said he was aggressive in Game 1. But continuing his postseason trend, he shot more long jumpers and attacked the basket less. A knee issue Wade has been playing with could be a factor or it might be not having the athleticism he had when he led the Heat to a title six years ago. "I'm not that athletic, I'll tell you that, as I was in '06 but I still have something in me," Wade said. "I still have some left in me. One day it will happen: Father Time will knock on the door and tap me on the shoulder. But not right now."
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he would tap his other star, Chris Bosh, and try to get him involved more. Miami will have to get more from its supporting cast against the deeper Thunder; Wade promised to give more tonight.
"I want to score more points," he said. "I want to get my team more to give us an opportunity to win the series. I'll be more aggressive, looking for my opportunities a lot more probably than I have of late. So that will be my change."
Wade probably will be booed loudly by the rabid Oklahoma City fans. He was talking about Durant and said if he played somewhere else he would be a more well-known star. "Being in Oklahoma City kind of dims the light a little bit, not him on the basketball court, but him off the court," Wade said. "There's not a lot of exciting things going on out here."
If Wade doesn't turn back the clock, the Thunder could be the NBA champs. That would be an exciting thing for Oklahoma City.